The MTA Police have identified the person killed when a Metro North train collided with a car Sunday afternoon. Metro North spokesman Sam Zambuto says the train struck the car yesterday afternoon in on the Danbury branch line in Redding, injuring three others.
A passenger in the car, 21-year old Wayne Balacky, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The driver, 19-year old Jausheema Perkins of Danbury, suffered head injuries. Two other passengers, 19-year old Fakeem Morning of Danbury and 21-year old James Redmond of Danbury, suffered leg injuries and were transferred to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
There were no passengers on the train. There were no reported injuries to the train crew.
Zambuto says the car was traveling south over the track when it was hit at the Long Ridge Road railroad crossing. The collision remains under investigation.
All four people in the car, a female driver and three male passengers, were initially taken to Danbury Hospital.
WASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama is voicing skepticism about proposals to place armed guards at schools in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 first graders.
Recalling the Dec. 14 rampage as the worst day of his presidency, Obama pledged to put his ``full weight'' behind legislation aimed at preventing gun violence.
In his most specific remarks about gun violence since the deadly assault at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Obama says he still supports increased background checks and bans on assault weapons and high capacity bullet magazines.
Obama made his remarks on NBC's ``Meet the Press.''
Six adults also died at the school. Authorities say the shooter killed himself and his mother at their home.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Parents and other family members of children and educators killed at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School have made one last visit to a memorial to the victims.
Police escorted the group on Friday to the massive memorial of candles, handwritten cards from around the world, stuffed animals and countless other expressions of grief and condolences.
The Hearst Connecticut Media Group reports that after the families left, a town crew began removing the snow-covered memorial.
On Saturday morning, 15 days after the shooting deaths, the mementos were gone.
The town has said biodegradable materials such as flowers will be composted into soil. Non-biodegradable materials will be ground up and combined with a cement slurry to make blocks for a future memorial.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The father of the gunman who killed 26 people in a Connecticut school shooting has claimed his son's body for burial.
A spokesman for the family says Peter Lanza claimed the remains of Adam Lanza.
The 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14. He also killed his mother in their Newtown home before going on the rampage and then committing suicide.
A private funeral was held earlier this month in New Hampshire for his mother, Nancy Lanza, who was divorced from Peter Lanza.
Peter Lanza lives in Stamford, Conn., and is a tax director at General Electric.
Police have not offered a motive for the killings.
FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) Farmington police say they arrested a man who invoked the Newtown elementary school massacre in text messages he sent threatening to shoot an ex-girlfriend.
Farmington police say 31-year-old Darnell Davis of Avon threatened in messages sent on Dec. 17 to shoot his ex-girlfriend and her young son and carry out crimes similar to the massacres in Newtown and at Columbine High School in Colorado.
Davis was arrested Thursday on charges including second-degree breach of peace, threatening and harassment. He is being held on $750,000 bond. A phone number was not listed for Davis' address.
Authorities say no guns were found at Davis' residence and police do not believe he owns guns.
He was arrested on behalf of Hartford police who were investigating a complaint from Davis' ex-girlfriend.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) A North Attleborough High School student who spent Christmas in jail after being accused of threatening to ``shoot up'' his school has been released on $10,000 bail.
Patrick Skrabec was released on Thursday after a dangerousness hearing in Attleboro District Court. A judge also ordered him to obey a curfew and report weekly to a probation officer, among other conditions.
The 17-year-old Skrabec had been held since his arrest on Dec. 21.
Skrabec told police he was joking. The Sun Chronicle reports that his lawyer argued in court that the junior had no access to guns, no history of discipline problems, and no criminal record.
Prosecutors argued that all threats need to be taken seriously given the shootings in Newtown, Conn.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A New Haven attorney is asking permission to sue the state for $100 million on behalf of a student who survived the mass shooting at a Newtown school.
The Hartford Courant reports that attorney Irving Pinsky filed notice Thursday with Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. The state has immunity against most lawsuits unless permission to sue is granted.
Pinsky said the 6-year-old student, identified as ``Jill Doe,'' was in her classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 when ``the horrific confrontation'' with Adam Lanza came over the loudspeaker.
Lanza killed 20 first grade students and six adult staffers at the school before killing himself.
Pinsky said the student has been traumatized by the killings, and accused the state of failing to protect students from ``foreseeable harm.''
The FBI has arrested 37-year old Nouel Alba of the Bronx, New York for lying to investigators looking into fraudulent fundraising. Alba allegedly used her facebook account, phone calls and text messages claiming to be a relative of 6-year old Noah Pozner and asked for donations for a funeral fund.
Donors sent money to the woman's paypal account and when she was contacted by the FBI, she denied it. She also claimed that others in the scrapbooking community she interacted with on Facebook were setting her up.
U.S. Attorney David Fein says this arrest should serve as a warning to anyone who attempts to profit from this tragedy.
Alba claimed to have provided photos of her nephew to law enforcement personnel and to have entered the school to identify the boy. Next of kin and families were not allowed into the school because it was and still is an active crime scene.
Alba said in a text message to one donor that she was at Newtown High School when President Obama was, though not inside claiming it was too hard. In another text message she said "he president met with us, hugged us and even cryd with us".
Alba is free on bond and faces up to five years in jail.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Kimberly Mertz says it's unconscionable to think that the families of the victims in Newtown, and a sympathetic community looking to provide them some sort of financial support and comfort, have become the targets of criminals.
Investigators are continuing to monitor the internet to uncover any other fundraising scams. Anyone with knowledge of fundraising schemes is being asked to contact the FBI in Connecticut at 203-777-6311.
Five of 13 companies that U-S Senator Richard Blumenthal called on last week to waive processing and transaction fees for donations to Newtown, have complied with the request. He sent letters to five fundraising websites and one four wireless companies calling on them to waive processing and transaction fees for donations made to organizations providing relief to Newtown.
Blumenthal praised MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express for heeding his call to waive the fees for donations to United Way Sandy Hook School Support Fund. PayPal/eBay decided to waive fees for any donation made in relation to the tragedy.
Blumenthal says contributors can do worthy causes and themselves a favor by donating through organizations that charge no fee.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Authorities investigating the school shooting in Newtown say they're looking into all aspects of the shooter's life.
State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said Thursday investigators are ``looking at everything to do with the shooter, his history, medical, psychological, education, family history, everything and anything relative to him we're examining.''
Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 and slaughtered 20 first-graders and six educators. The 20-year-old Lanza also killed his mother that morning and committed suicide as police arrived.
Vance said investigators are making progress. He could not provide a timeframe for when the investigation might conclude.
He said children would only be interviewed if necessary.
Police have yet to offer a possible motive for Lanza's rampage.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Clergy from across Newtown gathered this morning on a local soccer field to lead an interfaith vigil to mark the passing of two weeks since the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary school.
The Reverend Matthew Crebbin, pastor of the Newtown Congregational Church, says this morning's service at the former Fairfield Hills Hospital campus focused on the healing process and putting lives back together in new ways.
Representatives from Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Congregational, Buddhist, Muslim and other churches all took part.
The service paused at 9:30 for a moment of silence to mark the time the shooting occurred.
LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) A mural painted on a wall in northern Colorado in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., is gone but will be preserved.
Longmont artist Gamma Acosta has been painting temporary murals on his uncle's vacant building for more than five years, painting over the previous works each time. The day after the Sandy Hook shooting, he painted six shattered crayons along with a small red heart.
He said an anonymous art collector contacted him about preserving it. The Longmont Times-Call reported that he and friends carefully removed the wood paneling the mural was painted on Monday. The collector will also replace the paneling.
Acosta had planned a work to address shootings following the Oregon mall shooting, but then 20 children and six adults were killed in Newtown.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) It started as a way for one Montana family to talk about the tragic school shooting of 26 children and adults. It's blossoming into an international movement to build a chain of handmade paper hearts to stretch from Billings, Mont., to Newtown, Conn.
Gala Thompson and her family's Paper Hearts Across America estimate it would take about 19 million of the small paper hearts to connect the two cities.
They don't actually plan to stretch the chain of hearts across the nation. But they're asking people all over the country and the world to send them that number so they can deliver the hearts to the residents of Newtown and show them there's still good in the world.
The Billings Gazette reports the response is growing, with more than 10,000 handmade hearts already sent from as far away as China and Australia.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Officials in Newtown, Connecticut, are asking people to stop sending gifts to the grief-stricken community following the deadly school shooting, saying they're deeply grateful but can't handle the donation deluge.
The town's first selectman, police chief and schools superintendent made the request Wednesday through an editor at The Newtown Bee newspaper.
They say since a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators Dec. 14, gifts from school supplies to artwork have arrived in such numbers they've overwhelmed the small community's ability to process them.
The officials are asking people to temporarily stop sending gifts. They say once they process the ``warehouses full of items,'' they'll detail the best ways to help.
Meanwhile, the United Way of Western Connecticut announced Wednesday that a fund established after the shooting to support Newtown has grown to $3.5 million.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) One of six educators gunned down with 20 children at an elementary school has been buried with her engagement ring.
Rachel D'Avino's boyfriend, Anthony Cerritelli, planned to ask her to marry him on Christmas Eve. D'Avino's sister, Sarah, said the ring originally belonged to her grandmother. She said Cerritelli had it restored and a week before the shooting and had asked her mother permission to marry Rachel.
Sarah D'Avino said Wednesday that her sister, a behavioral therapist who worked with special needs children, had started working at Sandy Hook Elementary School about two weeks before she was killed.
A gunman shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 and slaughtered 20 first-graders and six educators. The gunman, who had also killed his mother that morning, committed suicide as police arrived.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) State education officials and a teachers' union have announced a website for donations to help Newtown teachers in the aftermath of a grade school shooting rampage that killed 20 children and six educators.
Contributions received at DonorsChoose.org/Newtown will help Newtown teachers design and pay for classroom projects and materials. Promoters say projects could include books and shelves for a reading area, art supplies or seeds and soil for a memorial garden.
Organizers say the goal is for residents of Connecticut and elsewhere to offer holiday gifts to Newtown's teachers and their students.
The Connecticut Department of Education, Newtown Public Schools and American Federation of Teachers and its Newtown local announced the website.
The parent organization, DonorsChoose.org, was founded in 2000 and has funded more than 328,000 projects in about 46,000 U.S. schools.
Money raised by the website will be divided equally among teachers in Newtown to help pay for projects they've designed.
The money could buy books and shelves for a reading nook, art supplies for a mosaic, or seeds and soil for a memorial garden.
The parent organization, DonorsChoose.org, reviews every request from a teacher, purchases the materials and ships them to the classroom. Photos of the project will be provided, as well as details about how the money was spent.
STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) More than 2,000 petitioners are asking Stratford to rename a street to honor a teacher who was among six educators and 20 children who were fatally shot in a Newtown grade school rampage.
The Connecticut Post reports that a petition on Change.org and linked to Facebook asks the Stratford Town Council to change North Parade to Victoria Soto Way. Stratford was the 27-year-old teacher's home town.
Chris Barbee, a graduate of Stratford High School where Soto graduated, said backers of a renamed street want to make sure Soto will never be forgotten.
Mayor John Harkins did not comment to the newspaper, citing respect for the family.
Members of Soto's high school class of 2003 have started a scholarship fund in her name. They also are composing a book, called ``Letters to Vicki.''
Late last Wednesday night a man went to the Danbury police station to report a hold up. Officers were told by the man that as he was walking down Division Street, five men approached him and one grabbed him while the other rummaged through his pockets. The man's cell phone, cash and house key were taken.
About an hour before, police were called to Goldsmith Jewelers on Main Street. The person who called police said two men entered the store, one had a gun. The men took jewelry and fled while the person called police.
Each case is being investigated by the Detective Bureau.
Late on Friday the 14th, Danbury police officers were called to Sports Authority by the mall by employees reporting a shoplifting attempt. Police say just before 10pm, 26-year old Daniel Crawford Jr of Brewster was struggling with employees trying to hold him from leaving the store. He was charged with robbery, larceny and interfering with a police officer.
On Sunday the 16th, police were called to the parking garage at the Danbury Mall where Mall security had noticed suspicious activity in a parked car. Just after 10pm officers went to the third level of the garage and found 18-year old Joseph Ciliberti of New Fairfield with marijuana and cocaine in the car. He was charged with possession of marijuana and of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia.
It was the week before Christmas and Police were called to the Microsoft Store at the Danbury Fair Mall where two people from Newburgh tried to steal items not once, but twice. Officers approached 54-year old Lorenzo Adams and 34-year old Stacy Rossman as they were leaving the store and the pair became verbally defensive.
An employee positively identified the suspects who earlier stole items and were back trying to cut security cables off other items.
Adams became combative while being handcuffed, resisting the officer--who the called for back up.
The responding officer recognized the man from a larceny he was investigating.
The pair had been caught on security cameras and had a wire cutter in their possession. A search of their car turned up the electronics, merchandise from LL Bean and a foil lined bag commonly used to defeat security sensors.
Adams refused to be fingerprinted and was belligerent while at the police station.
A debate about violence in America is being called for by Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan. He says extremely violent video games and Hollywood releasing movies of carnage on Christmas Day need to be part of the discussion.
McLachlan researched existing regulations in Connecticut's 1993 assault weapons ban over the summer to better understand how the state has some of the strongest gun control regulations in the country. He says weapons manufactured prior to the ban may be dismantled to recycle the part containing the gun’s serial number and rebuilt with modern parts that would otherwise fall under the existing assault weapons ban.
He adds that the weapon used in the Sandy Hook school rampage was not classified as an assault weapon and the definition should be reexamined.
McLachlan is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, but believes a civil discourse will be productive in finding solutions.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) The priest whose church was attended by eight of the children fatally shot at a Connecticut elementary school says 20 Newtown mothers have lost some of God's ``most precious gifts.''
Monsignor Robert Weiss celebrated Mass on Christmas morning after a week of consoling parents and burying their children.
Weiss says he told worshippers they could only regain hope and restore trust in their neighbors through Jesus Christ, and expressed hope that the mothers' grief could help bring needed change in America.
At a Newtown memorial to the victims, Maryjane O'Connor said Christmas is ``the birth of Jesus, and we find strength in that.''
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Well-wishers continue to turn out in Newtown, moved by this month's deadly school shootings.
People from around the country showed up Christmas morning to hang ornaments on a series of memorial Christmas trees while police officers from around the state also took on extra shifts to work in the town directing traffic and patrolling the town so that local officers could be with their families.
Faith Leonard drove to Newtown from Gilbert, Ariz., to hand out Christmas cookies, children's gifts and hugs on Tuesday.
Leonard says her work in Newtown might allow others to spend more time with their family.
Police don't know why Adam Lanza killed 26 people at the school, his mother and himself on December 14.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) All of the countless mementos that are arriving in Newtown, Conn., paying tribute to the 20 children and six adults killed at an elementary school, will be used to make a permanent memorial.
Oofficials plan to turn the flowers, letters, signs, candles, teddy bears and other items into soil and blocks to be used in the memorial.
For now, the mementos will stay up until after the New Year, as residents and visitors pay their respects.
Residents yesterday took turns watching over candles that had been lit at midnight on Christmas Eve -- one candle for each of the school shooting victims.
One woman who drove from Arizona to help out spent her Christmas morning at the memorial in Newtown, giving out Christmas cookies, children's gifts and hugs to anyone who needed them.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The union that represents police officers in Newtown, Conn., is pushing to make more help available for those who responded to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Attorney Eric Brown with AFSCME Council 15 says a handful of officers have been affected so severely by what they saw that they are not working. He says they have to use sick time and could soon be at risk of going without a paycheck.
Brown said Wednesday that the town and the union are asking the town's insurer to provide more assistance. The union is also reaching out to the governor's office and the legislature, where one Connecticut lawmaker says it will consider changes in state policy.
A gunman massacred 20 children and six adults at the school on Dec. 14.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Church leaders in Newtown are receiving standing ovations from parishioners they are helping to cope with the massacre at an elementary school.
Monsignor Robert Weiss of the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic church received applause at Sunday Mass and said he is grateful to everyone in the community for giving him strength to get through the week. Eight of the children and two of the adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School belonged to his church.
Weiss said it was the hardest week of his life.
The Rev. Kathleen Adams-Shepherd at Trinity Episcopal Church also received an ovation and kisses from a long line of parishioners. She offered a prayer for the 26 victims at the school as well as the gunman and his slain mother.
WASHINGTON (AP) Many lawmakers say they're willing to pursue some changes to the nation's gun laws, but adamant opposition from the National Rifle Association has made clear than any such effort will have difficulties.
Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has been promising to push for a renewal of legislation that banned certain weapons and limited the number of bullets a gun magazine could hold to 10.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, said Sunday that Congress should look at ``where the real danger is, like those large clips.''
But NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre dismissed the assault weapons ban as a ``phony piece of legislation'' and made clear it was highly unlikely that the NRA could support any new gun regulations.
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut Congressman John Larson says failure to overhaul federal gun laws will make elected officials complicit in more gun violence.
The Democratic congressman said at a gun violence forum in West Hartford over the weekend that policy must be changed regulating how the mentally ill are treated.
A gunman shot his way into a Newtown elementary school, killing 20 children and six adults. The killings on December 14 prompted a renewed debate nationwide over gun control.
The New Haven Register reports that Larson's forum was occasionally contentious, with some booing those who opposed expanding gun control provisions.
Ed Peruta, director of a pro-gun group, Connecticut Carry, suggested that laws should be changed so gun-related crimes would go to federal court rather than state court. He says that might avoid plea bargains in state.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) More messages of hope and solidarity are pouring into Newtown as the town observes Christmas Eve 10 days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Two dozen children and six adults arrived at town hall this morning to deliver hundreds of handmade cards and snowflakes collected as they toured Connecticut in a charter bus.
Organizer Gwen Samuel of Meriden says it's a way to help the families of the 20 slain first-graders and six teachers while also allowing children from elsewhere in the state to express their feelings about the tragedy.
Newtown's town hall has become a gathering point for donations and people who just want to talk about what happened.
Building manager Karen Pierce says the deluge of donations and support has been helping the town get through it all.
There was a candlelight vigil at the Fairfield Hills open space in Newtown last night paying tribute to the 20 children and 6 adults who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. It was one of many memorials in the area honoring the victims. At the state capital this week Newtown State Representative Chris Lyddy says everyones thoughts and prayers have served as a tremendous source of strength.
Lyddy says the over the last several days Newtown has become the epicenter of faith, hope and love for the world, proudly boasting a sense of community with a big hear that bleeds for those lost last Friday. During remarks to the joint session he said that in the days, weeks, months and years that come, Newtown will not define itself by the evil brought by a deranged man, but by the beautiful legacy of those who were lost.
Lyddy also had a message for his colleagues . He called on the legislature to use their precious time there to make a difference and take inventory of what matters.
Many people continue to struggle to understand what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. US Senator-elect Chris Murphy is among them. He says there are some answers that have come. The kind of community that Newtown is and the deepness of love there is in the region, the state and the country.
Murphy says these 20 kids had only goodness and purity of spirit within them and that's what needs to be taken away from this tragedy.
Meanwhile, Murphy says the announcement from the NRA was the most tone-deaf statement he's ever heard. He says while Newtown continues the horrifying work of burying 20 children, the NRA has the gall to say that the solution to this problem is more, not fewer guns.
Senator Richard Blumenthal says better mental health services and treatment, and stronger support and resources for enforcement of existing and new laws, must also be part of a common sense solution to curbing gun violence.
He says he will live forever with the looks on parents faces and the sounds of their cries of grief and anguish as they left the firehouse after getting word of a parent's worst nightmare.
Blumenthal spoke on the Senate floor saying that people in Connecticut have told him the same thing over and over; something needs to be done. He says assault weapons that aren't meant for self defense or hunting need to be banned. He is also calling for a ban of high capacity magazines and more thorough background checks.
A significantly enhanced presence of Brookfield Police at the schools will continue indefinitely. That was part of a message from Brookfield's School Superintendent in an email to parents about the continued effort to strengthen security. Anthony Bivonah says rapid communications systems linked directly to the police department are being installed in all buildings. Building entrances will be modified to improve access control and supervision of those entrances will be increased.
Bivonah is reminding Brookfield parents that if students or families need emotional support during winter break, Newtown Youth and Family Services is available for counseling services.
Newtown Youth and Family Services is located at 15 Berkshire Rd. Sandy Hook, CT 06482 and will be open
Saturday December 22nd from 9:00 AM to Noon and
Sunday December 23rd from 1:00 PM -4:00 PM
for emergency counseling for families, community members or staff. No appointment is necessary, walk-ins are welcome. We can be reached directly at 203-426-8103, plus our after hours crisis hotline (203) 327-5437 KIDS IN CRISIS. (Adult and Child assistance).
Throughout next week, Kids in Crisis will be at Newtown Youth & Family Services to provide emotional and therapeutic support for parents, students, and school staff. We will have numerous professionals (psychologist, psychiatrists and clinicians) available. No appointments are necessary.
The hours are as follows:
Monday, December 24th 9:00 AM- Noon
Tuesday, December 25th (Christmas Day ) 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
A Connecticut mom is turning to a children's classic and her fellow knitters to help Sandy Hook Elementary students when they walk into their new school.
Kim Piscatelli of East Hampton, Conn., came up with the idea to send each child a copy of ``The Kissing Hand'' and a pair of handmade mittens adorned with a heart in one palm.
The heart signifies the kiss left by the mother of a scared raccoon in the book when he does not want to go to school.
Piscatelli's idea spread quickly on Facebook and websites for knitters and crafters. Now she has a warehouse of 1,600 books ready to deliver the first week of January. Knitters from California to Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands are working to make enough mittens.
Operation Kids Comfort is coming to Newtown this morning with 3-thousand teddy bears from Breezy Point and beyond. The Comfort Crew will make their first drop of teddy bears and other donations at a private party with Newtown families before heading to the Big Y plaza on Queen Street to distribute the toys from 11am to 2pm.
Operation Kids Comfort was started by Breezy Point residents of Queens who received donations, support and kindness after losing everything in Superstorm Sandy. The pair wanted to pay it forward.
TRUMBULL, Conn. (AP) A school psychologist who rushed toward the gunman during an elementary school shooting is being remembered as a caring professional, a fan of the Miami Dolphins and a woman who ultimately put the lives of others ahead of her own.
A standing room-only crowd filled the St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church in Trumbull for the funeral of Mary Sherlach. She was one of six victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting who had services or calling hours scheduled on Friday.
The church was adorned with a Christmas tree and several wreaths including one with the teal, white and orange colors of the Dolphins.
Rev. Stephen Gleason said her love was Christ-like. He said: ``No one has greater love than to give one's life for his friends. And she did so in an attempt to save others.''
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Adam Lanza was an awkward, peculiar kid who wore the same clothes to school every day.
He rarely spoke and once gave a school presentation entirely by computer, never uttering a word.
Those are among the new details that emerged Friday, as the nation paused for a moment of silence to mark one week since Lanza slaughtered 20 first-graders and six women at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Lanza also fatally shot his mother that day and committed suicide.
Former high school classmate Daniel Frost says Lanza liked tinkering with computers and seemed to enjoy playing a violent video game. He says Lanza chose a military-style assault rifle as one of his weapons for the game.
Authorities say Lanza used a military-style assault rifle in the massacre.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is ordering state and U.S. flags in Connecticut raised again to full staff at sunset on Saturday, after the final funeral services for victims of the Newtown school shooting.
Malloy ordered flags to half-staff on Dec. 14 to honor the 20 children and six adults killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School that day one week ago.
Malloy said Friday the special observance will be concluded following the last funerals.
Malloy and other officials let a moment of silence in Newtown at 9:30 on Friday morning, the time the shootings began last week. People around the country joined in the observance. Bells tolled for the victims.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Places of worship and buildings with bells across the state rang them 26 times at 9:30 am for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.
Governor Dannel Malloy asked residents to observe the Day of Mourning on Friday for the 20 children and six adults who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School one week ago.
Officials and clergy in many other states around the nation also held observances.
It's a scene that's played out again today in Newtown, Conn. -- grim-faced mourners heading into a church to attend a funeral for one of the young victims of last week's shooting at an elementary school.
Six-year-old Catherine Hubbard was one of the 20 children who died. Her family said in her obituary that she would be remembered for her passion for animals and her constant smile.
Meanwhile, in a suburban New York church, Cardinal Timothy Dolan compared a slain teacher to Jesus because she gave up her life to protect others. Anne Marie Murphy was killed during the rampage last week along with her young students. At her funeral today, the cardinal told mourners that her death trying to protect the children helped unify a nation moved by what she had done.
Another church on Newtown's Main Street was filled to capacity for today's funeral of Benjamin Wheeler. Scores of mourners who couldn't get in were milling about outside. And in downtown Danbury, mourners filled a church for a memorial service for teacher Lauren Rousseau -- remembered as a spirited, hard-working, good-natured young woman who loved children and animals.
A private funeral has been held in New Hampshire for the mother of gunman who shot and killed 20 children at a Connecticut elementary school. The police chief in Kingston says the funeral was held Thursday for Nancy Lanza at an undisclosed location. He says about 25 family members attended the ceremony in the town of about 6,400, where Nancy Lanza once lived.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) When the bells of Newtown toll mournfully to honor the victims of last week's shooting rampage, they'll do so 26 times, for each child and staff member killed.
Rarely do people mention the first person police say Adam Lanza killed that morning: his mother, Nancy, who was shot in the head four times while she lay in bed.
The dearth of tributes to Nancy Lanza underscores the complicated mix of emotions surrounding her after the shooting.
No one outwardly blames her for the rampage. But authorities have said her 20-year-old son used the guns she kept at their home to carry out a massacre that has become the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history and stirred lawmakers to call for gun control laws.
EAST WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) Federal authorities have raided an East Windsor gun shop where a man allegedly tried to steal an assault rifle following the mass shooting at a Newtown elementary school.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, assisted by the East Windsor Police, raided Riverview Gun Sales on Thursday. The reason for the raid was unclear and officials told the Hartford Courant it was not prompted by one incident.
David LaGuercia, owner of the shop, issued a statement on Wednesday confirming he sold one gun to Nancy Lanza, the mother of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, several years ago and he was ``appalled'' it may have been used to kill children. LaGuercia said he's cooperating with authorities.
WFSB-TV obtained video of a man taking an assault rifle from the store on Saturday. He was later arrested.
OGDEN, Utah (AP) Family members who brought Emilie Parker back to Utah for her burial have remembered the 6-year-old killed in the Connecticut school shooting as a ``picture of perfection'' at a memorial Thursday in Ogden.
Emilie's parents, Robbie and Alissa Parker, have roots in the town about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City, and hundreds of people attended the service at Ben Lomond High School.
Emilie Parker's short life was celebrated Thursday in a slide show and brief remarks from family members. They recalled a girl full of love, compassion, charity and enthusiasm. Her father said she loved to pick flowers ``like a goat.''
The parents have asked for privacy at a funeral set for Saturday. Emilie Parker will be laid to rest in a favorite white dress with an American Girl doll at a gravesite next to her maternal grandfather, who died Sept. 29.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Hailed as heroes for their response to the Connecticut school shooting, some first responders are now struggling with emotions stirred by last week's massacre.
The state of Connecticut has deployed counselors to aid responders immediately after Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 children and six staff members were gunned down.
Initially, only police were allowed to enter the building amid concerns about a second shooter. They are credited with helping to end the rampage by the 20-year-old gunman, who killed himself as officers stormed the building.
But the first responders in the small, close-knit community say they are wrestling with feelings of frustration, anguish and guilt over not being able to do more.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Two Democratic state lawmakers are offering the first of package of proposed legislation in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
State Sen. Beth Bye of West Hartford and Rep. Robert Godfrey of Danbury released a series of proposals on Thursday that attempt to limit access in Connecticut to high-capacity magazines, assault weapons and ammunition.
The ideas will be packaged in one bill and offered in January when the General Assembly convenes.
The list includes prohibiting the sale and possession of any rifle, shotgun or pistol magazine that has a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition, instituting a 50 percent sales tax on the sale of ammunition and firearms magazines, requiring a permit to purchase ammunition, and banning online ammo purchases.
A grieving town braced itself today to bury the first two of the 20 littlest victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School gunman. The first funerals today were for 6-year-olds: Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner.
Pinto was a New York Giants fan. Wide receiver Victor Cruz dedicated his recent game to the child and called his family Saturday night.
Dean Pinto asked that State Police share this photograph of Jack.
Ana Marquez-Greene’s family has released the following statement:
“It is with immeasurable grief and heavy-heartedness that we mourn the loss of our precious angel, Ana Grace Marquez-Greene. She was taken from us far too soon in the horrific massacre enacted upon Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday morning, Dec. 14, 2012. She was 6 1/2 years old.
In her short life, Ana strengthened us with her loving, generous, joyful spirit. She routinely committed selfless acts of kindness: every drawing or craft project she began was envisioned not for her own enjoyment, but as a gift for another. She often left sweet notes that read, “I love you Mom and Dad,” under our bedroom pillow – not on special occasions, but, rather, on ordinary days. She would not allow me to kiss her goodbye. Instead, when I bent down to kiss her, she would take a step backwards, poke out her lips and wait for me to lower my cheek – she made it clear that she wanted to do the kissing.
Ana’s love for singing was evident before she was even able to talk. In a musical family, her gift for melody, pitch and rhythm stood out remarkably. And she never walked anywhere – her mode of transportation was dance. She danced from room to room and place to place. She danced to all the music she heard, whether in the air or in her head. Ana loved her God, loved to read the Bible and loved to sing and dance as acts of worship.
They have asked: “Share this far and wide. Let the world know the victims - not the shooter.”
We ask that you pray for the legions of people who are left behind to cherish memories of her. We also ask that you, like Ana, commit selfless acts of kindness to all those around you. Maybe, in some way, through love, similar senseless acts of violence could be prevented." In lieu of gifts and flowers, the family has established a scholarship in Ana’s name at Western Connecticut State University’s Department of Music.
Charlotte Bacon's family released this statement through Police.
"Charlotte Helen Bacon is the beloved daughter of Joel and JoAnn Bacon, and the sister of Guy Bacon. Charolette was an extraordinarily gifted six year old who filled her family each day with joy and love. The family will forever remember her beautiful smile, her energy for life, and the unique way she expressed her individuality usually with the color pink. Charolette never met and animal she didn’t love, and since the age of two wanted to be a Veterinarian. She also enjoyed practicing Tae Kwon Do weekly with her Dad and brother where she relished kicking and throwing punches!
Charolette has left a place in her entire extended family’s hearts that will never be replaced. The family is profoundly grateful for the thoughts and prayers of the many friends around the world who expressed their sympathies. They trust in the depths of God’s grace, and with confidence, know that Charolette rests in God’s arms."
"We want to give sincere thanks and appreciation to the emergency services and first responders who helped everyone on Friday, December 14. It was an impossible day for us, but even in our grief we cannot comprehend what other people may have experienced.
The support of our beautiful community and from family, friends and people around the world has been overwhelming and we are humbled. We feel the love and comfort that people are sending and this gives our family strength. We thank everyone for their support, which we will continue to need as we begin this long journey of healing.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have also been affected by this tragedy. We are forever bound together and hope we can support and find solace with each other.Sandy Hook and Newtown have warmly welcomed us since we moved here two years ago from England. We specifically chose Sandy Hook for the community and the elementary school. We do not and shall never regret this choice. Our boys have flourished here and our family’s happiness has been limitless.
We cannot speak highly enough of Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, exceptional women who knew both our children and who specifically helped us navigate Dylan’s special education needs. Dylan’s teacher, Vicki Soto, was warm and funny and Dylan loved her dearly. We take great comfort in knowing that Dylan was not alone when he died, but was wrapped in the arms of his amazing aide, Anne Marie Murphy. Dylan loved Mrs. Murphy so much and pointed at her picture on our refrigerator every day. Though our hearts break for Dylan, they are also filled with love for these and the other beautiful women who all selflessly died trying to save our children.
Everyone who met Dylan fell in love with him. His beaming smile would light up any room and his laugh was the sweetest music. He loved to cuddle, play tag every morning at the bus stop with our neighbors, bounce on the trampoline, play computer games, watch movies, the color purple, seeing the moon and eating his favorite foods, especially chocolate. He was learning to read and was so proud when he read us a new book every day. He adored his big brother Jake, his best friend and role model.
There are no words that can express our feeling of loss. We will always be a family of four, as though Dylan is no longer physically with us, he is forever in our hearts and minds. We love you Mister D, our special gorgeous angel.
This is the statement From the Gay Family
On Friday, December 14, 2012, our beautiful daughter, Josephine Grace Gay, was killed in an unimaginable tragedy at her elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Joey, many of her friends, teachers, and school staff members were taken from our loving community. Joey turned 7 three days prior to this tragedy and was looking forward to celebrating at her birthday party with many of these friends the next day.
Although our family is devastated, we are deeply comforted in the knowledge that she is no longer scared or hurting and rests in the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is through His sufficient grace that we are able to get through this. Our innocent, trusting little girl stared into the face of unimaginable evil and overcame it in Christ. She was not alone in her courage.
Our small, close-knit community acted instantly. First responders from our town and those surrounding quickly removed surviving children and staff members from the scene. Connecticut state troopers have tended to our families around the clock, surrounding us with protection and compassion. Neighbors, religious communities, townspeople, and professionals are providing the care and love that we are so in need of now. We see this movement grow daily with acts of love and kindness pouring in from around the country and the world. We see how evil is defeated.
Since Joey's passing, we have received many media requests for our story and for pictures of our daughter. Although we are protecting our family’s privacy during this time of healing, we believe it is important to share some of Joey's story. It will help us if others know what a special person she was and how she inspired everyone she met.
Joey was autistic and severely apraxic. She could not speak, yet she touched the lives of so many around her: teachers, therapists, friends, neighbors, all loved and cherished her. Joey was social and affectionate; she smiled, she loved hugs, and she even had a wonderful sense of humor. Her spirit was indomitable. She participated in rigorous therapy and treatment on a daily basis without complaint. She loved to play with her Barbie dolls, iPad, and computer, swim, swing, and be anywhere her sisters were.
Josephine loved the color purple. Born in Maryland, she grew up in a family of Ravens fans and developed an affinity for all things purple. She rarely left the house without wearing something purple. After her passing, many friends who visited wore purple clothing to honor her. On Saturday a family friend tied purple balloons on the mailboxes on our street, and on Sunday the neighborhood children and her sisters and cousins released purple balloons with written messages of love to her in heaven.
We will not let this tragedy define her life. Instead, we will honor her inspiring and generous spirit. We have established Joey’s Fund in her name through the Doug Flutie, Jr.
Foundation for Autism. The proceeds of this fund will help families raising autistic children. It’s our way of dealing with this pain and never letting go of her love.
Many people have reached out to us asking to provide help or support. We ask that, if you are able, please contribute to Joey's Fund, and if you are so inclined, please wear purple on Saturday.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Funeral processions are rolling through a grieving Connecticut town for another day.
7-year-old Daniel Barden, the youngest of three children, was recalled by his family as "always smiling" and "unfailingly polite."
Hundreds of firefighters formed a long blue line outside a Catholic church. Daniel wanted to join their ranks one day. Some firefighters came from New York, where his family has relatives who are firefighters.
One Newtown man who has been to one of the funerals and plans to attend two or three more says it seems that all he hears now are motorcycle escorts and funeral processions. He says, "It's just a constant reminder."
Mourners wore pink ties and scarves at the funeral of 6-year-old Caroline Previdi -- pink was her favorite color. Across town, hundreds gathered for the funeral of another 6-year-old, Charlotte Helen Bacon. Many wore buttons with pictures of the 6-year-old redhead.
Long funeral processions have been filling the streets of Newtown, where Christmas trees have been turned into memorials. At least nine funerals and wakes were held Wednesday for the victims.
A priest who worked at a Catholic church in Newtown before transferring to a church in Greenwich is back at his old parish to comfort families. The Rev. John Inserra says, ``It's sad to see the little coffins,'' and that it's ``always hard to bury a child.''
In the town of Stratford, a teacher who was gunned down during the shootings in Newtown was remembered as a hero who died trying to shield her students. Outside Victoria Soto's funeral, a family friend said it's "pretty apparent" how selfless she was.
Soto was among six educators who died along with 20 children.
A longtime friend says yhe 27-year-old "loved her job" and always described her students as "good kids."
Peter Rusatsky praises Soto's actions. He says "any teacher would do it and not blink and just do whatever had to be done to protect those children."
Fairfield police Chief Gary MacNamara attended the funeral. He calls Soto a "tremendous hero" and says sacrificing her life was "the ultimate strength."
Hundreds of mourners flocked to a wake in suburban Katonah, N.Y. for one of the teachers killed in the Newtown, Conn. school shooting.
They waited in line, some for more than an hour, outside The Clark Associates funeral home Wednesday to pay respects for 52-year-old Anne Marie Murphy.
The former Katonah resident is survived by four children, her husband, her parents and six brothers and sisters. A nephew of Murphy, Taylor McGowan, commented on the large turnout, saying "if you knew her, you wouldn't be surprised."
One of her children is a nursing student at Western Connecticut State University.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan is expected to preach at Murphy's funeral. Her relatives say they are praying "for all the families touched so terribly."
A family member read a statement from Anne Marie Murphy's relatives before her funeral Thursday. They said they prayed "that God may help these feelings of such great pain and grief pass quickly."
Archdiocese of New York spokesman Joseph Zwilling says Dolan wants "to express his support for all who lost their lives in Newtown and their families."
RED LAKE, Minn. (AP) A group of young adults from Minnesota with a keen understanding of the pain felt in Newtown, Conn., are traveling to the East Coast to let those affected by the elementary school massacre know that they're not alone.
Most are 2008 graduates of Red Lake Senior High School, and know the heartbreak and loss felt in Newtown following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took 20 young lives and six adults.
In 2005, a 16-year-old student went on a shooting spree on the Red Lake Reservation. Seven people were killed at the school. The gunman's grandfather and his grandfather's girlfriend were also killed.
The delegation of around 20 Red Lake members will pass on a plaque they received from survivors of the 1999 Columbine school shooting in Colorado.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's chief medical examiner says arrangements are being made out of state for the burial of the mother of Adam Lanza, who fatally shot 20 children and six adults in a Newtown elementary school.
The New Haven Register reports that Dr. H. Wayne Carver said a funeral home outside Connecticut wants to claim the body of Nancy Lanza, who was shot last Friday by her son shortly before he headed to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he went on a deadly rampage.
Carver said he does not know the name of the funeral home, but that police in New Hampshire are fielding questions from the media. Nancy Lanza once lived in New Hampshire and her brother is a retired police captain in Kingston, N.H.
The newspaper said it is still not known if Adam's body remains unclaimed.
Monroe, Conn. (AP) When the children who survived the Connecticut massacre return to school in a different building, they'll find things just as they left them, down to the water bottles and boxes of crayons on their desks.
They'll have their same chairs and desks, when possible. Their walls will be painted the same colors and be hung with the same pictures. Other details, such as the location of bookshelves and cubby holes, will be replicated as much as possible.
The new Sandy Hook Elementary School will be located in a vacant middle school in Monroe, about six miles from the old school. It's expected to open in January, and students will remain there at least through the academic year with Donna Page, a retired Sandy Hook principal, leading the new school.
NEWTOWN (AP) Scam artists have started to prey on the memories of those who were killed in the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
The family of Noah Pozner was grieving for the 6-year-old when they learned that someone was soliciting donations in the boy's memory. A website had been set up with his name, even including petitions on gun control. It was a scam.
Noah's uncle, Alexis Haller, called it an outraged and reported the action to police.
Consumer groups and government officials call for caution about unsolicited requests for donations, by phone or email. They tell people to be wary of callers who don't want to answer questions about their organization, who won't take ``no'' for an answer, or who convey what seems to be an unreasonable sense of urgency.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's chief medical examiner says he's seeking genetic clues to help explain why a shooter killed 20 children and six adults in a Newtown elementary school.
Dr. H. Wayne Carver tells The Hartford Courant that he wants to know if there is any identifiable disease associated with the behavior of the shooter, Adam Lanza. He is working with the University of Connecticut department of genetics.
Paula Levy, a mediator who worked with Lanza's parents during their divorce, has said Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, an autism-like disorder.
Carver says Asperger's is not associated with violent behavior. He says he's not considering it as a reason for Lanza's rampage on Friday.
Carver is awaiting toxicology testing results for Lanza and other information.
Lanza fatally shot himself as first responders approached the school Friday morning.
STORRS, Conn. (AP) The University of Connecticut is creating a scholarship fund for students from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where 20 students and six staff members were gunned down last week.
The Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund will help pay college costs for Sandy Hook students who choose to attend UConn when they're older. Siblings of the student victims and children of the adult victims also will be eligible. The awards will be need-based.
Donations will be collected through the University of Connecticut Foundation. A spokesman says the foundation hasn't set a fundraising goal and will wait to see how many donations come in over the coming years before deciding whether the scholarships can cover the students' entire college costs.
UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma (aw-ree-EH'-muh) and his wife have donated $80,000.
The university says 650 other individual donations have been received in the fund's first 24 hours.
WASHINGTON (AP) The National Rifle Association is breaking its silence four days after a school shooting in Newtown, Conn., where 26 were killed, including 20 children.
The nation's largest gun rights organization made its first public statements Tuesday after a self-imposed media blackout that left many wondering how it would respond to the killings. In its statement, the group said its members were, quoting, ``shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders.''
The group also said it wanted to give families time to mourn before making its first public statements. The organization pledged ``to help to make sure this never happens again'' and has scheduled a news conference for Friday.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) As a teenager, Adam Lanza would come in for a haircut about every six weeks without speaking or looking at anyone and always accompanied by his mother, said stylists at a salon in the town where Lanza gunned down 27 people last week, including his mother, before killing himself.
He stopped coming in a few years ago, and the employees at the salon thought he had moved away, said stylist Bob Skuba.
The comments from him and his colleagues were among the first describing how the Lanzas interacted with each other. Investigators have found no letters or diaries that could explain the attack, one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.
Cutting Adam Lanza's hair ``was a very long half an hour. It was a very uncomfortable situation,'' stylist Diane Harty said. She said that she never heard his voice and that Nancy Lanza also hardly spoke.
Another stylist, Jessica Phillips, echoed their descriptions of the Lanzas and added that Nancy Lanza would give her son directions about what to do and where to go.
Adam would move only ``when his mother told him to,'' Skuba said.
``I would say, `Adam, come on.' He wouldn't move,'' Skuba said. ``And his mother would have to say, `Adam, come on, he's ready.' It was like I was invisible.'' He said Adam also wouldn't move from his chair after his hair was cut until his mother told him to.
If a stylist would ask Adam a question, Skuba said, his mother would answer.
``He would just be looking down at the tiles ... the whole time,'' Skuba said.
Former classmates have previously described Adam Lanza as intelligent but remote, and former high school adviser described him as anxious and shy. Several people who knew his mother have described her as a devoted parent.
Divorce paperwork released this week showed that Nancy Lanza had the authority to make all decisions regarding Adam's upbringing. The divorce was finalized in September 2009, when Adam Lanza was 17.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut lawmakers plan to honor the victims of the Newtown school shooting when they return to the Capitol to address the state's budget deficit.
The special legislative session is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
Legislative leaders, lawmakers representing Newtown, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and members of the clergy are expected to speak about the tragedy, which left 20 students and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School dead. The names of the victims will be read and there will be a moment of silence.
Lawmakers on Tuesday night were finalizing details of a bipartisan plan to cover the projected $365 million deficit in current $20 billion budget. Malloy already ordered $170 million in spending cuts.
Much of the difference is expected to be covered by cuts to hospitals.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz has visited the home of the 6-year-old Connecticut shooting victim who was buried in a replica Cruz jersey.
Jack Pinto was among 20 children shot to death Friday in Newtown. Several elementary school-age children played touch football in the front yard of his family's home Tuesday. Many wore Giants jerseys or Newtown football or wrestling shirts as they laughed, smiled and hugged.
The children and their families left after several hours. Kids carried autographed Giants footballs and jerseys.
About 45 minutes later, Cruz left the home in an SUV and an escort of five police cruisers, sirens blaring. He later tweeted that he has ``much love to the entire Pinto family. Great people with huge hearts.''
Several people leaving the home confirmed Cruz was there.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is recalling how and why he decided to tell the families of shooting victims that their loved ones were dead.
Malloy told reporters Monday that he sensed a ``reluctance'' by officials to tell the anxious group waiting for news at the Sandy Hook firehouse ``that the person they were waiting for was not going to return.'' He choked up as he wiped away tears.
The normally businesslike Malloy had to pause several times to regain his composure as he explained how he didn't think it was right for the families to wait a long time for the traditional identification of victims.
He says ``I made the decision that to have that go on any longer was wrong.''
Malloy is calling for a moment of silence and churches to ring bells exactly one week after the shooting at an elementary school. He is asking churches ring their bells 26 times to honor the victims.
Malloy has signed an executive order to help clear the way for the Newtown school board to send students from Sandy Hook Elementary to a former middle school in nearby Monroe.
Malloy said on the Monday the order will take effect immediately.
Typically, state law requires a lengthy procedural process, including a public hearing and posting notices, before a municipality can sell, lease or transfer real property. Malloy said the order makes sense because this is an obvious emergency situation.
The Monroe fire marshal said the former Chalk Hill school should be ready for the Sandy Hook students, grades kindergarten through fourth, ``in a matter of days.'' No date has been set for when the school might open.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) With security stepped up and families still on edge in Newtown, students began returning to school Tuesday for the first time since last week's massacre, bringing a return of familiar routines - at least, for some - to a grief-stricken town as it buries 20 of its children.
Two 6-year-old boys were laid to rest Monday in the first of a long, almost unbearable procession of funerals. A total of 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S history.
Classes resume Tuesday for Newtown schools except those at Sandy Hook. Another school in the district-- Head O'Meadow went into lock down this morning before students arrived because of an unspecified threat. Police and the school district have not released any other information about the incident.
At Newtown High School, students in sweatshirts and jackets, many wearing headphones, waved at or snapped photos of the assembled media horde on their way into the building. Reuniting with friends and getting back to school were welcome tasks, said one sophomore.
``It's definitely better than just sitting at home watching the news,'' said Tate Schwab, 15.
At home, his family, who moved to Newtown just last year, was distraught over the news. His mother cried over his 3-year-old sister, who would have eventually attended Sandy Hook, he said.
At school, he didn't expect to get much work done Tuesday but rather anticipated most of the day would be spent talking about the shooting.
``It really hasn't sunk in yet,'' he said. ``It feels to me like it hasn't happened. It's really weird.''
Some parents were likely to keep their children at home anyway. Local police and school officials have been discussing how and where to increase security, and state police said they would be on alert for threats and hoaxes.
``I'm not really concerned about my safety, but I don't really know,'' Schwab said.
Suzy DeYoung said her own 15-year-old son is going back to the high school.
``I think he wants to go back,'' she said. ``If he told me he wants to stay home, I'd let him stay home. I think going back to a routine is a good idea; at least that's what I hear from professionals.''
On Monday, Newtown held the first two funerals of many the picturesque New England community of 27,000 people will face over the next few days, just as other towns are getting ready for the holidays. At least one funeral is planned for a student - 6-year-old Jessica Rekos - as well as several wakes, including one for teacher Victoria Soto, who has been hailed as a hero for sacrificing herself to save several students.
Two funeral homes filled Monday with mourners for Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both 6 years old. A rabbi presided at Noah's service, and in keeping with Jewish tradition, the boy was laid to rest in a simple brown wooden casket with a Star of David on it.
``I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room,'' Noah's mother, Veronique Pozner, said at the service, according to remarks the family provided to The Associated Press. Both services were closed to the news media.
``Most of all, I will miss your visions of your future,'' she said. ``You wanted to be a doctor, a soldier, a taco factory manager. It was your favorite food, and no doubt you wanted to ensure that the world kept producing tacos.''
She closed by saying: ``Momma loves you, little man.''
Noah's twin, Arielle, who was assigned to a different classroom, survived the killing frenzy.
At Jack Pinto's Christian service, hymns rang out from inside the funeral home, where the boy lay in an open casket. Jack was among the youngest members of a youth wrestling association in Newtown, and dozens of little boys turned up at the service in gray Newtown Wrestling T-shirts.
Jack was a fan of New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and was laid to rest in a Cruz jersey.
Authorities say the man who killed the two boys and their classmates, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, shot his mother, Nancy, at their home and then took her car and some of her guns to the school, where he broke in and opened fire. A Connecticut official said the mother, a gun enthusiast who practiced at shooting ranges, was found dead in her pajamas in bed, shot four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.
Lanza was wearing all black, with an olive-drab utility vest with lots of pockets, during the attack.
As investigators worked to figure out what drove him to lash out with such fury - and why he singled out the school - federal agents said that he had fired guns at shooting ranges over the past several years but that there was no evidence he did so recently as practice for the rampage.
Debora Seifert, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said both Lanza and his mother fired at shooting ranges, and also visited ranges together.
``We do not have any indication at this time that the shooter engaged in shooting activities in the past six months,'' Seifert said.
Investigators have found no letters or diaries that could explain the attack.
Whatever his motives, normalcy will be slow in revisiting Newtown. Classes were canceled district-wide Monday, though other students in town were expected to return to class Tuesday.
Dan Capodicci, whose 10-year-old daughter attends the school at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, said he thinks it's time for her to get back to classes.
``It's the right thing to do. You have to send your kids back. But at the same time I'm worried,'' he said. ``We need to get back to normal.''
Gina Wolfman said her daughters are going back to their seventh- and ninth-grade classrooms tomorrow. She thinks they are ready to be back with their friends.
``I think they want to be back with everyone and share,'' she said.
Newtown police Lt. George Sinko said whether to send children to school is a personal decision for every parent.
``I can't imagine what it must be like being a parent with a child that young, putting them on a school bus,'' Sinko said.
The district has made plans to send surviving Sandy Hook students to Chalk Hill, a former middle school in the neighboring town of Monroe. Sandy Hook desks that will fit the small students are being taken there, empty since town schools consolidated last year, and tradesmen are donating their services to get the school ready within a matter of days.
``These are innocent children that need to be put on the right path again,'' Monroe police Lt. Brian McCauley said.
With Sandy Hook Elementary still designated a crime scene, state police Lt. Paul Vance said it could be months before police turn the school back over to the district.
The shooting has put schools on edge across the country.
Anxiety ran high enough in Ridgefield, Conn., about 20 miles from Newtown, that officials ordered a lockdown at schools after a person deemed suspicious was seen at a train station.
Two schools were locked down in South Burlington, Vt., because of an unspecified threat. A high school in Windham, N.H., was briefly locked down after an administrator heard a loud bang, but a police search found nothing suspicious.
Lanza is believed to have used a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, a civilian version of the military's M-16. It is similar to the weapon used in a recent shopping mall shooting in Oregon and other deadly attacks around the U.S. Versions of the AR-15 were outlawed in this country under the 1994 assault weapons ban, but the law expired in 2004.
Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced Tuesday it plans to sell its stake in Freedom Group, maker of the Bushmaster rifle, following the school shootings.
Cerberus said in a statement Tuesday that it was deeply saddened by Friday's events, and that it will hire a financial adviser to help with the process of selling its Freedom Group interests.
The outlines of a national debate on gun control have begun to take shape. At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said curbing gun violence is a complex problem that will require a ``comprehensive solution.''
Carney did not offer specific proposals or a timeline. He said President Barack Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and mental health professionals in coming weeks.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, flanked by shooting survivors and relatives of victims of gunfire around the country, pressed Obama and Congress to toughen gun laws and tighten enforcement after the Newtown massacre.
``If this doesn't do it,'' he asked, ``what is going to?''
At least one senator, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, said Monday that the attack in Newtown has led him to rethink his opposition to the ban on assault weapons.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat who is an avid hunter and lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, said it's time to move beyond the political rhetoric and begin an honest discussion about reasonable restrictions on guns.
``This is bigger than just about guns,'' he added. ``It's about how we treat people with mental illness, how we intervene, how we get them the care they need, how we protect our schools. It's just so sad.''
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Federal agents say the gunman in the Connecticut school shooting fired guns at shooting ranges over the past several years, but there's no evidence he did so recently as practice for the rampage.
Debora Seifert, a spokeswoman for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, says Adam Lanza and his mother each fired at shooting ranges. They also visited ranges together.
But Seifert tells the AP that ATF investigators have no indication now ``that the shooter engaged in shooting activities in the past six months.''
One of the major unanswered questions has been whether Lanza trained in advance for Friday's attack that killed 20 children and six adults inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Lanza also killed his mother at home and himself.
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) A mediator who worked with Adam Lanza's parents during their divorce in 2009 says his mother said she didn't like to leave him alone and that his parents went out of their way to accommodate him.
Lanza killed his mother before going to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday morning and killing 20 children and six adults before taking his own life.
Paula Levy recalled Monday that during about 10 two-hour sessions, Nancy and Peter Lanza were respectful of each other and concerned about their son's needs. Levy never met Adam Lanza but says the couple mentioned he had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, an autism-like disorder, and they spent considerable time talking about how to provide for his well-being.
Levy says she spoke in hopes of making clear that the Lanzas were loving parents who wanted the best for their son.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A man who lives near Sandy Hook Elementary School is describing how he took in six young students who survived the shooting and ended up huddled at the end of his driveway.
Sixty-nine-year-old retired psychologist Gene Rosen says he heard gunfire Friday morning but dismissed it as a hunter. He was heading to a diner when he found four girls and two boys sitting in a semicircle.
He says one little boy told him: ``We can't go back to school. Our teacher is dead.''
He took the children in, gave them juice and stuffed animals, called their parents and listened to them describe the ordeal,
They said the shooter had a big gun and a little gun. Another boy provided a moment of levity when he said: ``Just saying, your house is very small.''
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut town where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in a school last week has said goodbye with the first two funerals.
Services were held Monday for 6-year-old Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner. Jack was a big New York Giants fan, and Noah liked to figure out how things worked mechanically.
Family, friends and townspeople streamed out of two funeral homes after the services and then headed for two cemeteries.
Outside Noah's service, well-wishers placed two teddy bears, white flowers and a single red rose at the base of a maple tree. At Jack's, hymns rang out from inside.
New York Giants Wide receiver Victor Cruz dedicated his recent game to the child and called his family Saturday night. He plans to travel to Newtown this week to give his cleats and gloves to the Pinto family.
RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say they arrested a man who caused school lockdowns in two towns after he was spotted dressed all in black, wearing a mask and carrying what appeared to be a rifle.
A school in Ridgefield and three schools in neighboring Redding were locked down for less than an hour Monday morning. Police say the object the man was carrying turned out to be an umbrella. It's not clear why he was wearing all black and a mask.
School officials nationwide are on heightened alert after 20 children and six adults were shot to death Friday at a school in Newtown, about 20 miles from Ridgefield.
Ridgefield police charged 22-year-old Wilfredo Seda of Redding with breach of peace.
Schools in Newtown will be closed on Monday. Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson says Sandy Hook Elementary School students will be relocated to Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe. Those students will resume classes on Wednesday, while the rest of the district goes into session on Tuesday.
Robinson says staff will report on Monday for training session on how to help their students through the shooting tragedy. Counselors will also go through training sessions.
Two locations in Newtown are opening their doors for counseling services. On Sunday and Monday, Reed Intermediate School will be open from 7am to 7pm. Newtown Youth & Family Services, located at 15 Berkshire Road, is open from 9am to 4pm Sunday. No appointments are necessary.
The town of New Milford and the New Milford Clergy Association have planned a prayer vigil for Sunday night. The vigil will be at the Bandstand on the Green from 6pm to 7pm. Those joining are asked to bring candles.
An interfaith service being held at the Newtown High School auditorium tonight at 7pm will be attended by President Obama.
Danbury and Bethel schools will have additional police presence. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says the goal is to reassure students that the schools are a safe location. Danbury did not go into lock down mode on Friday. Guidelines for parents were either sent home or posted on the district websites from across the Greater Danbury region about how to answer children's questions about what unfolded Friday morning in Newtown.
Boughton says there will be a planning meeting tonight with Police Chief Al Baker, Superintendent of Schools Sal Pascarella and others about how to move forward this week.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A worker who turned on the intercom, alerting others in the building that something was very wrong. A custodian who risked his life by running through the halls warning of danger. A clerk who led 18 children on their hands and knees to safety, then gave them paper and crayons to keep them calm and quiet.
Out of the ruins of families that lost a precious child, sister or mother, out of a tight-knit town roiling with grief, glows one bright spot: the stories of staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School who may have prevented further carnage through selfless actions and smart snap judgments.
District Superintendent Janet Robinson noted "incredible acts of heroism" that "ultimately saved so many lives."
"The teachers were really, really focused on their students," she told reporters Saturday.
Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice.
After gunman Adam Lanza broke through the school door, gun blazing, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and principal Dawn Hochsprung ran toward him, Robinson said. Hochsprung died while lunging at the gunman, officials said.
The 56-year-old Sherlach, who would have been tasked with helping survivors cope with the tragedy, died doing what she loved, her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times.
"Mary felt like she was doing God's work," he said, "working with the children."
Just this past October, Hochsprung had tweeted a picture of the school's evacuation drill with the message "Safety first."
Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old teacher, reportedly hid some students in a bathroom or closet and died trying to shield them from bullets, a cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News. Those who knew Soto said they weren't surprised.
"You have a teacher who cared more about her students than herself," said John Harkins, mayor of Stratford, Soto's hometown. "That speaks volumes to her character, and her commitment and dedication."
In other cases, staffers both saved students and managed to escape with their own lives.
Teacher Theodore Varga said that as gunfire echoed through the school, a custodian ran around, warning people. He appears to have survived; all the adults killed were women.
"He said, 'Guys! Get down! Hide!'" Varga said. "So he was actually a hero."
Someone switched on the intercom, alerting people in the building to the attack by letting them hear the chaos in the school office, a teacher said. Teachers locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in a corner or hide in closets as shots echoed through the building.
In a classroom, teacher Kaitlin Roig barricaded her 15 students into a tiny bathroom, pulled a bookshelf across the door and locked it. She told the kids to be "absolutely quiet."
"I said, 'There are bad guys out there now. We need to wait for the good guys,'" she told ABC News.
One student claimed to know karate. "It's OK. I'll lead the way out," the student said.
Clerk Maryann Jacob was working with a group of 18 fourth-graders in the library when the shooting broke out. She herded the children into a classroom in the library, but then realized the door wouldn't lock.
They crawled across the room into a storage space, locked the door and barricaded it with a filing cabinet. There happened to be materials for coloring, she said, "so we set them up with paper and crayons."
One person who wasn't in the school at all also is getting props for his grace: Robbie Parker, whose daughter Emilie died.
Speaking to reporters Saturday, he said he was not mad and offered sympathy for Lanza's family.
"I can't imagine," he said, "how hard this experience must be for you."
Most died at the very start of their young lives, tiny victims taken in a way not fit for anyone regardless of age. Others found their life's work in sheltering little ones, teaching them, caring for them, treating them as their own. After the gunfire ended Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the trail of loss was more than many could bear: 20 students and six adults at the school, the gunman's mother at home, and the gunman himself.
A glimpse of some of those who died:
Charlotte Bacon, 6
They were supposed to be for the holidays, but finally on Friday, after hearing much begging, Charlotte Bacon's mother relented and let her wear the new pink dress and boots to school.
It was the last outfit the outgoing redhead would ever pick out. Charlotte's older brother, Guy, was also in the school but was not shot.
Her parents, JoAnn and Joel, had lived in Newtown for four or five years, JoAnn's brother John Hagen, of Nisswa, Minn., told Newsday.
"She was going to go some places in this world," Hagen told the newspaper. "This little girl could light up the room for anyone."
Olivia Engel, 6
The images of Olivia Engel will live far beyond her short lifetime. There she is, visiting with Santa Claus, or feasting on a slice of birthday cake. There's the one of her swinging a pink baseball bat, and another posing on a boat. In some, she models a pretty white dress; in others, she makes a silly face.
Dan Merton, a longtime friend of the girl's family, says he could never forget the child, and he has much to say when he thinks of her.
"She loved attention," he said. "She had perfect manners, perfect table manners. She was the teacher's pet, the line leader."
On Friday, Merton said, she was simply excited to go to school and then return home and make a gingerbread house.
"Her only crime," he said, "is being a wiggly, smiley 6-year-old."
Dawn Hochsprung, 47, principal
Dawn Hochsprung's pride in Sandy Hook Elementary was clear. She regularly tweeted photos from her time as principal there, giving indelible glimpses of life at a place now known for tragedy. Just this week, it was an image of fourth-graders rehearsing for their winter concert; days before that, the tiny hands of kindergartners exchanging play money at their makeshift grocery store.
She viewed her school as a model, telling The Newtown Bee in 2010 that "I don't think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day." She had worked to make Sandy Hook a place of safety, too, and in October, the 47-year-old Hochsprung shared a picture of the school's evacuation drill with the message "safety first." When the unthinkable came, she was ready to defend.
Officials said she died while lunging at the gunman in an attempt to overtake him.
"She had an extremely likable style about her," said Gerald Stomski, first selectman of Woodbury, where Hochsprung lived and had taught. "She was an extremely charismatic principal while she was here."
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Dr. Matthew Velsmid was at Madeleine's house on Saturday, tending to her stricken family. He said the family did not want to comment.
Velsmid said that after hearing of the shooting, he went to the triage area to provide medical assistance but there were no injuries to treat.
"We were waiting for casualties to come out, and there was nothing. There was no need, unfortunately," he said. "This is the darkest thing I've ever walked into, by far."
Velsmid's daughter, who attends another school, lost three of her friends.
Catherine Hubbard, 6
A family friend turned reporters away from the house, but Catherine's parents released a statement expressing gratitude to emergency responders and for the support of the community.
"We are greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Catherine Violet and our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have been affected by this tragedy," Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard said. "We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy."
Chase Kowalski, 7
Chase Kowalski was always outside, playing in the backyard, riding his bicycle. Just last week, he was visiting neighbor Kevin Grimes, telling him about completing — and winning — his first mini-triathlon.
"You couldn't think of a better child," Grimes said.
Grimes' own five children all attended Sandy Hook, too. Cars lined up outside the Kowalskis' ranch home Saturday, and a state trooper's car idled in the driveway. Grimes spoke of the boy only in the present tense.
Nancy Lanza, 52, gunman's mother
She once was known simply for the game nights she hosted and the holiday decorations she put up at her house. Now Nancy Lanza is known as her son's first victim.
Authorities say her 20-year-old son Adam gunned her down before killing 26 others at Sandy Hook. The two shared a home in a well-to-do Newtown neighborhood, but details were slow to emerge of who she was and what might have led her son to carry out such horror.
Kingston, N.H., Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said Nancy Lanza once lived in the community and was a kind, considerate and loving person. The former stockbroker at John Hancock in Boston was well-respected, Briggs said.
Court records show Lanza and her ex-husband, Peter Lanza, filed for divorce in 2008. He lives in Stamford and is a tax director at General Electric. A neighbor, Rhonda Cullens, said she knew Nancy Lanza from get-togethers she had hosted to play Bunco, a dice game. She said her neighbor had enjoyed gardening.
"She was a very nice lady," Cullens said. "She was just like all the rest of us in the neighborhood, just a regular person."
Jesse Lewis, 6
Six-year-old Jesse Lewis had hot chocolate with his favorite breakfast sandwich — sausage, egg and cheese — at the neighborhood deli before going to school Friday morning.
Jesse and his parents were regulars at the Misty Vale Deli in Sandy Hook, Conn., owner Angel Salazar told The Wall Street Journal.
"He was always friendly; he always liked to talk," Salazar said.
Jesse's family has a collection of animals he enjoyed playing with, and he was learning to ride horseback.
Family friend Barbara McSperrin told the Journal that Jesse was "a typical 6-year-old little boy, full of life."
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
A year ago, 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene was reveling in holiday celebrations with her extended family on her first trip to Puerto Rico. This year will be heartbreakingly different.
The girl's grandmother, Elba Marquez, said the family moved to Connecticut just two months ago, drawn from Canada, in part, by Sandy Hook's sterling reputation. The grandmother's brother, Jorge Marquez, is mayor of a Puerto Rican town and said the child's 9-year-old brother also was at the school but escaped safely.
Elba Marquez had just visited the new home over Thanksgiving and is perplexed by what happened. "What happened does not match up with the place where they live," she said.
A video spreading across the Internet shows a confident Ana hitting every note as she sings "Come, Thou Almighty King." She flashes a big grin and waves to the camera when she's done.
Jorge Marquez confirmed the girl's father is saxophonist Jimmy Greene, who wrote on Facebook that he was trying to "work through this nightmare."
"As much as she's needed here and missed by her mother, brother and me, Ana beat us all to paradise," he wrote. "I love you sweetie girl."
Greene is a faculty member at Western Connecticut State University.
James Mattioli, 6
The upstate New York town of Sherrill is thinking of Cindy Mattioli, who grew up there and lost her son James in the school shooting in Connecticut.
"It's a terrible tragedy, and we're a tight community," Mayor William Vineall told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. "Everybody will be there for them, and our thoughts and prayers are there for them."
James' grandparents, Jack and Kathy Radley, still live in the city, the newspaper reported.
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, teacher
A happy soul. A good mother, wife and daughter. Artistic, fun-loving, witty and hardworking.
Remembering their daughter, Anne Marie Murphy, her parents had no shortage of adjectives to offer Newsday. When news of the shooting broke, Hugh and Alice McGowan waited for word of their daughter as hours ticked by. And then it came.
Authorities told the couple their daughter was a hero who helped shield some of her students from the rain of bullets. As the grim news arrived, the victim's mother reached for her rosary.
"You don't expect your daughter to be murdered," her father told the newspaper. "It happens on TV. It happens elsewhere."
Emilie Parker, 6
Quick to cheer up those in need of a smile, Emilie Parker never missed a chance to draw a picture or make a card.
Her father, Robbie Parker, fought back tears as he described the beautiful, blond, always-smiling girl who loved to try new things, except foods.
Parker, one of the first parents to publicly talk about his loss, expressed no animosity for the gunman, even as he struggled to explain the death to his other two children, ages 3 and 4. He's sustained by the fact that the world is better for having had Emilie in it.
"I'm so blessed to be her dad," he said.
Noah Pozner, 6
The way Noah Pozner's parents saw it, no schools in New York could compare with those in Newtown, a relative told Newsday. So they moved their family — Noah, his twin sister and his 8-year-old sister.
"At this stage, two out of three survived. ... That's sad," said Noah's uncle Arthur Pozner, of New York City's Brooklyn borough. "The reason they moved to that area is because they did not consider any school in New York state on the same level. That's one of the reasons they moved, for safety and education."
Noah's siblings were also students there but were not hurt. Noah's uncle recalled him as "extremely mature."
"When I was his age, I was not like him," Pozner told the newspaper. "Very well brought up. Extremely bright. Extremely bright."
Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau, 30, teacher
Lauren Rousseau had spent years working as a substitute teacher and doing other jobs. So she was thrilled when she finally realized her goal this fall to become a full-time teacher at Sandy Hook.
Her mother, Teresa Rousseau, a copy editor at the Danbury News-Times, released a statement Saturday that said state police told them just after midnight that she was among the victims.
"Lauren wanted to be a teacher from before she even went to kindergarten," she said. "We will miss her terribly and will take comfort knowing that she had achieved that dream."
Her mother said she was thrilled to get the job.
"It was the best year of her life," she told the newspaper.
Rousseau has been called gentle, spirited and active. She had planned to see "The Hobbit" with her boyfriend Friday and had baked cupcakes for a party they were to attend afterward. She was born in Danbury, and attended Danbury High, college at the University of Connecticut and graduate school at the University of Bridgeport.
She was a lover of music, dance and theater.
"I'm used to having people die who are older," her mother said, "not the person whose room is up over the kitchen."
Mary Sherlach, 56, school psychologist
When the shots rang out, Mary Sherlach threw herself into the danger.
Janet Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools, said Sherlach and the school's principal ran toward the shooter. They lost their own lives, rushing toward him.
Even as Sherlach neared retirement, her job at Sandy Hook was one she loved. Those who knew her called her a wonderful neighbor, a beautiful person, a dedicated educator.
Her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times that Sherlach rooted on the Miami Dolphins, enjoyed visiting the Finger Lakes, relished helping children overcome their problems. She had planned to leave work early on Friday, he said, but never had the chance. In a news conference Saturday, he told reporters the loss was devastating, but that Sherlach was doing what she loved.
"Mary felt like she was doing God's work," he said, "working with the children."
Victoria Soto, 27, teacher
She beams in snapshots. Her enthusiasm and cheer was evident. She was doing, those who knew her say, what she loved.
And now, Victoria Soto is being called a hero.
Though details of the 27-year-old teacher's death remained fuzzy, her name has been invoked again and again as a portrait of selflessness and humanity among unfathomable evil. Those who knew her said they weren't surprised by reports she shielded her first-graders from danger.
"She put those children first. That's all she ever talked about," said a friend, Andrea Crowell. "She wanted to do her best for them, to teach them something new every day."
Photos of Soto show her always with a wide smile, in pictures of her at her college graduation and in mundane daily life. She looks so young, barely an adult herself. Her goal was simply to be a teacher.
"You have a teacher who cared more about her students than herself," said Mayor John Harkins of Stratford, the town Soto hailed from and where more than 300 people gathered for a memorial service Saturday night. "That speaks volumes to her character, and her commitment and dedication."
Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie, Mark Scolforo, Allen Breed and Danica Coto contributed to this report.
Tomorrow evening, the President will travel to Newtown to meet with the families of those who were lost and thank first responders. The President will also speak at an interfaith vigil Sunday evening.
President Barack Obama has addressed a stunned nation for a second time regarding the Connecticut school massacre, saying the country is "heavy with hurt."
In his weekly media message, Obama said, "We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived. Because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child's innocence has been torn away far too early."
Obama says he and his wife, Michelle, "are doing what I know every parent is doing - holding our children as close as we can and reminding them how much we love them."
Republicans ceded their time so that Obama could speak for the nation.
REMARKS OF GOVERNOR DANNEL P. MALLOY ON THE SHOOTING IN NEWTOWN
Yesterday an unspeakable tragedy occurred in the community of Newtown. 20 beautiful children and 7 wonderful adults lost their lives.
All of Connecticut’s people – indeed the people of the world – weep for the immeasurable losses suffered by the families and loved ones of these victims.
Though we could all try, when something as senseless as this occurs, there’s precious little anyone can say to the families of the victims that will lessen the horror and sense of loss they feel. We could say we feel their pain, but the truth is we can’t.
When tragedies like this occur, people often look for answers, an explanation of how this could have occurred. But the sad truth is, there are no answers. No good ones, anyway.
We have all seen tragedies like this play out in other states and countries. Each time, we wondered how something so horrific could occur, and we thanked God that it didn’t happen here in Connecticut. But now it has.
So what can we do? As was no doubt the case last night, we can hug someone we love a little tighter. As has been happening since yesterday, we can show and share with each other the grief we feel for the children and adults who were killed, and for their families and loved ones. We can speak about what’s really important, and what can wait for another day.
There will be time soon for a discussion of the public policy issues surrounding yesterday’s events, but what’s important right now is this: love, courage, and compassion.
Love, as it has poured in from around the world.
Courage, as was demonstrated by the teachers and other adults in the school building, whose actions no doubt saved lives.
Courage on display, as it always is, by all our first responders.
Compassion, as shown by people around Connecticut who’ve arrived in Newtown wanting only to help.
Too often, we focus on what divides us as people, instead of what binds us as human beings. What we saw yesterday were those bonds, that sense of community.
In the coming days, we will rely upon that which we have been taught and that which we inherently believe: that there is faith for a reason, and that faith is God’s gift to all of us.
Those educators, and those innocent little boys and girls were taken from their families far too soon. Let us all hope and pray those children are now in a place where that innocence will forever be protected.
May God bless you, may God bless those 27 people, may God bless their families and friends, and may the pain their loved ones feel be someday absorbed by the love of mankind.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The father of a 6-year-old girl killed in the Connecticut elementary school massacre says his deep pain is comforted by the memory of how bright, loving and creative his daughter was.
Robbie Parker says his daughter Emilie was artistic and was always quick to draw a picture or make a card for friends. He says the world is a better place because Emilie was in it.
Parker was among the first parents to speak about the loss of one of the 20 children who died in Friday's shootings. He struggled to collect his breath at first, much less to speak. He says he's not mad and expressed sympathy for the shooter's family.
Parker says, "She was beautiful. She was blond. She was always smiling."
Western Connecticut State University President James Scmotter says the university community has been touched directly by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
He says it is with immeasurable sadness that friend and colleague Jimmy Greene has suffered the terrible loss of his daughter, Ana. He added that the University will be at his side to do all they can to help him and his family through this unfathomable tragedy.
Plans for a memorial service for the victims are in the very beginning stages and more information will be forthcoming.
Puerto Rican relatives of one of the 20 children killed say the family of a 6-year-old girl who was shot had just moved to the U.S. two months before the shooting.
The grandmother of Ana Grace Marquez says her family had moved from Canada to Connecticut and enrolled the girl at Sandy Hook Elementary School because of its solid reputation.
Elba Marquez told The Associated Press late Friday that the family had moved because the girl's mother had been hired to teach at a local university.
Elba Marquez's brother, Jorge Marquez, said Ana Grace had a 9-year-old brother who was at the school during the shooting Friday but was not injured.
The family flew from Puerto Rico to Connecticut Saturday for the girl's funeral.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Investigators are trying to figure out what led a bright but painfully awkward 20-year-old to slaughter 26 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school.
A medical examiner says the victims were killed by multiple rifle shots, some of them up close. Dr. H. Wayne Carver said at a news conference Saturday he believes "everybody was hit more than once."
Friday's massacre has elicited horror and soul-searching around the world.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the "innocent little boys and girls" were "taken from their families far too soon."
Investigators have questioned the gunman's older brother, who's not believed to have been involved in the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Malloy said in an address Saturday what's important right now is "love, courage and compassion." After the shooting, Malloy went to a firehouse where victims' relatives gathered. He said "evil visited" the community. He says since then love has "poured in from around the world."
28 people have been killed in a shooting rapmage at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 20 children were killed, 18 of them died at the school and two died at the Hospital from injuries sustained in the shooting. Six adults were also killed at the school. One person was injured. The shooter died of what apparently were self inflicted wounds. State Police spokesman Lt Paul Vance says officers did not fire any shots. He notes that the shootings took place in one section of the school.
Governor Dannel Malloy will address the state at 5pm Saturday evening. He is meeting today in Newtown with members of the community. He doesn't plan to address media at Treadwell Park this afternoon.
The alleged shooter's mother, Nancy Lanza, was found shot in her home. Reports are that the shooter is 20-year old Adam Lanza. Originially police identified the shooter as his brother, 24-year old Ryan Lanza, but a source says the officer transposed the names. Ryan Lanza is cooperating with police, but is not believed to be involved in this incident.
Two adults identified as victims of this shooting are Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach. They along with the vice principal and others were in an administrative meeting when the shooter entered the school.
Vance says only one list of names of the victims will be released, so he will not make any announcement until the Medical Examiner has completed their work, and positive identifications have been made. Vance will be giving another breifing around 8am Saturday.
Shortly after the shooting, all schools in the district went into lock down mode. A reverse 911 call was sent out to the town. Some nearby towns also put the schools on lock down.
Parents streamed down the road, many running toward the school, in hopes of being reunited with their children. There were some frantic parents searching and being told to go to the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire House nearby where many of the students had been taken. There were many tears of relief as parents hugged their children while walking away from the fire house. For those parents who were wating for word of their children's well being, it was an agonizingly long run down the hill. After being reunited, many parents didn't want to speak in front of their children about what had just happened. Others were anxious to leave the area and go to the safety of their homes.
A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that authorities investigating the shooting found more guns inside the school than the initial two that had been reported. Other law enforcement officials also speaking on condition of anonymity have said the gunman apparently left a high-powered rifle in the back of a car he drove to school. That official also said the gunman had a possible personality disorder.
The official says Ryan Lanza's computers and phone records were being searched but only "in an abundance of caution." He says Ryan told authorities he had not been in touch with his brother in recent years.
Danbury Hospital CEO John Murphy says they prepared for the worse, but only three people were brought in. Two were students who succumbed to their injuries.
Governor Malloy says evil has visited this community today.
Vance says the scene is secured, but it is still an active crime scene. The Medical Examiner's office is at the school working with parents to positively identify the victims of this tragedy. A State Trooper is posted with each of the families so that they can be given information before it's made public.
Hundreds of people are packing St Rose of Lima Church to remember the victims of this tragic shooting. With the church filled to capacity, hundreds of people stood outside Friday night, some of them holding hands in circles and saying prayers. Others lit candles and sang "Silent Night."
Governor Malloy is among the speakers. Lt Governor Nancy Wyman, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator-elect Chris Murphy and State Senator John McKinney were also among those at the church. Town and school officials were also at the scene.
Flags have been ordered to fly at half-staff in Connecticut and across the country.
The American Red Cross is providing food and water to first responders. Volunteers are also providing food, water and support to families who are still at the firehouse.
Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson says Nancy Lanza is not in the district's database as a staff member. She says she has never met Lanza. It's unclear at this time if the woman was a substitute in the district.
Students will not be back in the building for the foreseeable future. Robinson says alternate arrangements are being made in other schools. Grief counseling available to parents, students and staff.
Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt Paul Vance says the gunman, 20-year old Adam Lanza, forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School. Vance said Saturday morning that the suspect was not voluntarily let into the building.
Vance says emergency responders broke a number of windows so they could get into the building as quickly as possible to save as many lives as they could. But he notes, investigators have established a point of entry for the shooter.
A law enforcement official says Lanza brought three guns into the elementary school and that the weapons were registered to his slain mother. The official was not authorized to discuss information with reporters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official says a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, and a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle were found in the school after the massacre Friday.
The official says that a fourth weapon was found outside the school and that investigators have been going to shooting ranges and gun stores to see if Lanza had frequented them.
A vigil is being held at Newtown High School at noon on Sunday. Tonight at 5:30pm members of the Bethel community will gather in solidarity with our neighbors and in support for all those lost in yesterday's tragic events. Several other vigils across the state are also planned.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says the community extends it's deepest condolences to the victims of this senseless tragedy. Boughton says any loss affects each person deeply, but the loss of these young children and those who were protecting them, makes it especially tragic. Boughton has offered Newtown any assistance they may need in the aftermath of this mass shooting.
Congressman Jim Himes says words can not express the sadness and horror of this shooting. He says the children of Sandy Hook Elementary are all of our children and he is offering his deepest sympathy to the victims and the survivors of this unspeakable crime.
Congresswoman-elect Elizabeth Esty says as a mother she can only begin to imagine what these students, teachers and staff must be experiencing.
Senator-elect Chris Murphy says he was shocked and saddened by this horrific news. He was on scene Friday with Senator Richard Blumenthal where they said their thoughts and prayers are with the entire community.
Newtown state Representative DebraLee Hovey says the shock and horror of this incomprehensible act of cruelty and violence has ended so many beautiful and innocent lives. She says when tragedies like this unfold in remote locations, they shake us, but never do we imaging that one will be in out own backyard.
Brookfield schools are sending out their thoughts and prayers to students and staff in Newtown as everyone tries to cope with the enormous tragedy that occurred Friday morning. Director Of Special Services Charlie Manos says counseling staff will be available in Brookfield, with the school psychologist at Center Elementary School this morning from 10am to 1pm. The crisis intervention hotline at Danbury Hospital is 1-888-447-3339.
School Administrators from Easton, Redding Region 9 say more than geography connect them with Newtown. As reports came in, the 3 Superintendents say the scale of the carnage became apparent triggering feelings that all parents, teachers and public servants share. Redding and Easton police made their presence visible outside each school building during dismissal time. School officials will review security protocols. All schools in the district will have support personnel available Monday for any students that requires it.
The United Way of Western Connecticut is extending its condolences and prayers to the families affected by Friday's devastating event. For volunteers and contributors, The United Way says Newtown is home and the organization stands with the community.
United Way of Western Connecticut in partnership with Newtown Savings Bank has created the "Sandy Hook School Support fund" that will be able to provide support services to the families and community that has been affected.
To donate to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, you can send a check to:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470